It was a sneaky-good year for Queensbury hockey, and the Spartans are hoping it tested them well enough for what comes Saturday.
Queensbury (12-8) plays John Jay (13-7-3) in a Division II regional final at 4:30 p.m. at the Glens Falls Recreation Center. The winner advances to the state final four on March 10 in Buffalo.
Despite being the lone Division II team in the Capital District High School Hockey League, Queensbury finished second. It defeated La Salle, which went on to the Division I final, 4-1 on Feb. 13 in its last regular-season game.
“We figured out a way to win games this year,” Queensbury coach Dean Williams said. “At the beginning of the season, I didn’t see it that much, but we developed nicely.”
Forward Austin Gordon, a CDHSHL honorable mention all-star, leads the Spartans in scoring with 22 points, on six goals and 16 assists. Defenseman Patrick Williams, a CDHSHL first-team all-star, is second in scoring with two goals and 17 assists for 19 points. Forwards Gabe Smith and Jack Randall also earned honorable mention all-star status.
Defensively, goaltender Owen Smith has been solid, registering a 2.11 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. Defenseman Tyler Vogel was also an honorable mention league all-star.
To ensure the Spartans didn’t acquire rust, Queensbury scrimmaged Ithaca. Since that time, the players have been focused.
“We’re alloted an hour and a half for practice, and we’re getting everything done in an hour and 15 minutes,” Dean Williams said.
That efficiency should come in handy against a John Jay team that won its sectional crown with a 5-3 victory over Horace Greeley on Feb. 24. John McKeon led the way with two goals and goalie Taylor Isom made a couple of key saves late.
“They have some scoring threats, a couple of guys that have put up 30-plus points,” Dean Williams said. “They’re a senior- and junior-laden team, but I think we match up well. It should be a pretty tight game.”
Sixteen of Queensbury’s 24 players are underclassmen.
While the Spartans found ways to win, this season also put them in many different situations. That should be a plus Saturday.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to draw back on something we’ve been through this season,” Dean Williams said, “whether it’s a win, a loss, an overtime game. There were a lot of good scenarios we can use.”